Volume 21 Issue 7 - March 2, 2012 PDF
Leveraging Tenant-Incubator Social Capital for Organizational Learning and Performance in Incubation Program
Shih-Chieh Fang1,*, Fu-Sheng Tsai2, Julia L. Lin.3
1 Department of Business Administration, College of Management, National Cheng Kung University
2 Department of Business Administration, Cheng Shiu University
3 Department of International Business, Dean of the School of Management, I-Shou University
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In a business age emphasizing organizational capabilities, companies need to constantly absorb and utilize knowledge resources from internal and external environments. Companies need both independent and collaborative learning (i.e. inter-organizational learning). Taiwan is an economy where there are intensive entrepreneurial and innovative activities. The learning and capability development of new ventures become critical factors, not only for the survival and success for themselves, but also for the performance of the economy as a whole. Thus, we investigate the inter-organizational learning among business incubators (as a platform for knowledge resource identification and exchange) and tenants. With analyses of a sample of 101 tenants in incubation programs, we found that (see figure 1 for the conceptual framework), by leveraging the social capital (relationship quality, incubator referral, shared cognition and symbol system) between the tenants and their incubator, high-quality inter-organizational learning mechanisms (knowledge sharing, participation) can be stimulated to enable tenants to gain better performance (technological, managerial and satisfaction). Theoretically, the paper contributes by integrating the inter-organizational networks perspective with the inter-organizational relations perspective. For practitioners, we explicate the importance of social capital practices in incubation programs – treating the incubation relationship more strategically but not just operationally for contractual purpose. Inter-organizational communities, informal gathering of multi-parties, participative consensus development between incubator and tenants, expert yellow-page databases, among others, were suggested to facilitate the development of social capital and inter-organizational learning in incubation context.
Figure 1 Conceptual framework: Tenants’ learning by leveraging tenant-incubator social capital
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